Although it is one of today’s buzzwords, “Social Media” is a generic term that refers to websites that allow one or more of the following services: social networking, content management, social bookmarking, blogging and micro-blogging, live video-casting, and access into virtual worlds. Social Media—the technology as we know it today—has its roots in Usenet, a worldwide discussion system that allowed users to post public messages to it.

Social media refers to online resources that people use to share content. This content can include images, photos, videos, text messages, pins, opinions and ideas, insights, humor, gossip, and news of almost any kind. Drury’s list of social media includes the following: Blogs, vlogs, social networks, message boards, podcasts, public bookmarking and wikis. Popular examples of social media applications include Flickr (online photosharing); Wikipedia (reference); Bebo, Facebook and MySpace (networking); (bookmarking) and World of Warcraft (online gaming).

Unlike traditional marketing models that are nothing more than one-way delivery systems from a company to its consumers, social media is about building a relationship with an audience and starting a two-way dialogue between a company and its consumers. In this new environment, marketing becomes a multi-dimensional discipline that is about receiving and exchanging perceptions and ideas. The consumer is seen as a participant rather than as a “target audience.” The old Source-Message-Channel-Receiver model is evolving into “a collaborative and dynamic communication model in which marketers don’t design ‘messages’ for priority audiences but create worlds in which consumers communicate both with the company and with each other.”'s Top Tools to Measure Your Social Media Success states that there are five Ws that must be kept in mind when devising a social media strategy. These are:

  1. Who within the company will be using this tool? Will one person or several people be using the tools and will they be inside or outside the organization? Will the primary user be tech savvy or will he or she require an intuitive interface?
  2. What key performance indicators (KPI) are to be measured with this tool? It is imperative to know how you are going to measure and benchmark your social media efforts as this will dictate what social media monitoring tools are the best to use. If sales revenue is a key KPI, businesses should invest in a tool that integrates with a CRM system to track impact.
  3. Where on the web will the business be engaging customers, and where does it plan to monitor its social media conversations? If a business is only interested in tracking specific channels such as Facebook or Twitter, tools such as Facebook (obviously), and can help with the former, while Twazzup, TweetEffect and Twittercounter can track the latter. All-encompassing tools that monitor new sites and forums are useful to monitor mentions from across the entire web.
  4. When should the company be alerted of conversations and mentions within the social media sphere? Options here include general reporting dashboards or instant notifications via e-mail alerts or RSS feeds.
  5. Why is the company engaging in social media? This is, perhaps, the most important question of all, and a business must decide whether it is turning to social media to manage its online brand reputation, to engage its customers and/or potential customers, to provide real-time customer service, or simply to drive traffic to its website to influence SEO.

Intelligencia can help businesses develop and implement the following social media services:

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